Patient / Survivor
In 2012, I was an active 59-year-old with only a marginal blood pressure problem. Then I found myself wondering why my bowel movements started to look different. Colonoscopies found nothing significant, but something was definitely changing.
I wasn’t aware of any cancer history in my family, so I didn’t question the doctors. Additional colonoscopies were performed in 2013, and the last one finally found a growth. The first biopsy did not identify the tissue as malignant, and they told me it could be some form of Crohn’s disease.
By Spring 2014, my doctor was able to biopsy a large sample from a growth in my colon, leading him to recommend surgery. During my surgery, they removed a six-inch section of my colon and re-sectioned it. Upon further examination of the abdominal cavity – surprise – two tumors were discovered outside of my colon. By this time, the cancer had spread and cancer cells were found in some of my lymph nodes.
I went from a suspicion of cancer to a confirmed case of stage IV colon cancer. A year of chemotherapy stopped tumor growth, but did not shrink the two masses found during surgery. It was decided I should have a HIPEC procedure, and it saved my life! After a year-and-a-half I remain in remission.
I got lucky. Luck, however, is not a good medical practice.
Don’t let unusual health changes go unexplored! If your PCP won’t be Sherlock Holmes to your Watson, then get another doctor. It’s your life. Advocate for yourself.